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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh added to US 'terror list'

Ismail Haniyeh is known for his pragmatism within Hamas circles [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 January, 2018

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has been added to the US terrorist eleven years after the group itself was designated as a terrorist organisation by Washington.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has been added to a US 'terror' list on Wednesday.

The US State Department on Wednesday issued a press release stating that Haniyeh "has close links with Hamas' military wing" and is responsible for the killing of Israeli and US civilians.

"Ismail Haniyeh is the leader and President of the Political Bureau of Hamas, which was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization," the State Department said in a press release.

The press release accused Gaza based Haniyeh of "reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens" adding that "Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks.”

Now branded as a terrorist, Haniyeh is now banned from visiting the US, nor is he allowed to hold assets in the country. Any financial dealings with Haniyeh is now illegal for US citizens.

Haniyeh last May was elected overall head of the Palestinian resistance group, succeeding Khaled Meshaal, at the time being hailed for his pragmatism.

Before he became leader of Hamas, he was the group’s former chief in Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran dismissed the move as 'farcical'. 

"As if we Palestinians require a certificate of good conduct from America," he said in a statement later on Wednesday.

The real terrorist, he added, is the Israeli occupation state which kills children, demolishes homes, and seizes land.

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